Stars shone brightly last night

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ontario Farm Fresh held their Annual Awards Gala at 13th Street Winery last night and a few stars were highlighted in the direct farm marketing industry.

The Leadership Award was presented to Jim and Leslie Forsythe from Forsythe Family Farms.

Forsythe Family Farms has been a member of OFFMA since 1988. During that time, both Leslie and Jim have individually served on the Board and as presidents for Ontario Farm Fresh. And we know what a time commitment those positions can be.

One of Leslie’s superpowers is to develop and implement outstanding school tour programs. She is known as the School Tour Guru.

Both Leslie and Jim have given back and are still giving back to OFFMA by sharing their experiences and knowledge of the direct farm marketing industry. Please help me in recognizing their contribution to our industry.

The Ambassador Award was given to Treadwell Cuisine, accepted by James Treadwell.

This award is presented to someone outside of the Ontario Farm Fresh membership who promotes local food, local producers and farm fare. These values are not new to Treadwell Cuisine located in Niagara on the Lake. They have embraced these concepts and have been following them for years for both food and wine that they serve in their establishments. It is with great pleasure that Ontario Farm Fresh was able to recognize their efforts this year.

The Outstanding Farm Market was presented to Muskoka Lake Winery in Bala. Owners Wendy Hogarth and Murray Johnston were on hand to accept the award.

The farm where the Muskoka Lake Winery is located was purchased in 1950 by Orv Johnston and by the mid 1950, it was Ontario’s only cranberry farm until the 1970’s. Orv and his wife June pioneered an industry, growing cranberries, raising a family of four and making products from the fruit they grew.

Orv and June’s son, Murray, studied agriculture at University of Guelph with an eye on continuing the cranberry tradition. Murray’s wife, Wendy, has an MBA from University of Guelph, focusing on tourism and agribusiness.

Together, Murray and Wendy expanded the farm to include Muskoka Lakes Winery. The farm and winery is now open to visitors year round. The daily Bog to Bottle Discovery is a Signature Canadian Experience. Along with a patio, wine tasting, hiking and snowshoe trails, and harvest activities like the Cranberry Plunge. Recently added Ice Trail and Blueberry Hill make the farm a Muskoka ‘must do’ in any season.

Murray and Wendy have four boys who help out on the farm. We look forward to seeing what the next generation’s plans are for the farm!

Ontario Farm Fresh is a voluntary, membership based association made up of keen farmers who market directly to the consumer through on-farm markets, PYO, CSA’s or businesses involved in agri-tainment. Annual they recognize excellence in their industry by highlighting a few stars.

For further information contact Cathy Bartolic, Executive Director, 905-306-0371 or [email protected]